ConservativeHome began as a campaigning website under Tim Montgomerie, calling for members to retain the right to vote in leadership contests, and has continued as one ever since – urging Downing Street and CCHQ last summer, for example, to release the Party’s membership figures.
This work will continue during the run-up to the election and beyond, developing the Message, Manifesto, Machine themes set out last year in Strong and Compassionate. This summer, Tim Montgomerie and Stephan Shakespeare are due to publish their book on Message, parts of which will be published on the site.
Next spring, we will make a push on Machine. And this autumn, this site will issue a ConservativeHome manifesto for the next election and beyond. We wouldn’t do so without getting ideas and suggestions from our readers first – and that means all readers, not just party members. The site will release at least one manifesto policy survey during the next few months.
However, we will disappoint anyone who believes that we should start with a blank canvass. The trinity on our masthead – Homes, Jobs and Savings – will be at the heart of the project. The manifesto will prioritise the needs of the marginal seats in the north and midlands that the Party needs to win and hold to gain a majority.
In particular, it will seek to play a part in widening the Party’s pool of potential voters – and to have a strong pitch to younger voters who don’t vote Conservative, as well as older ones who do – or have done, at any rate. It will be very much what this site calls a Shoestring Manifesto – in other words, brief, bullet-pointed, and (hopefully) user-friendly.
The alternative is to sit back, wait for the Party’s own manifesto, and cheer and boo as we please. We don’t believe it’s a good one and it certainly wouldn’t be positive. There will be more on what ConservativeHome is doing this year tomorrow.